This form of massage appears to have arrived in Siam, Thailand today, with Buddhist monks and is now a part of traditional Thai medicine.
in India over 2,500 years ago, this healing art spread to Siam (ancient
Thailand) with the spread of Buddhism. Once performed by
monks as part of elaborate healing rituals, it formed one part of traditional Thai
medicine. The complete practice includes nutritional
counseling as well, often recommending dietary changes. It also entails using herbs,
both consumed internally and applied externally usually in the form of oils
or heated liquids, along with meditation and discussion.
But even apart from the integrated practice, Thai massage has many
A session in Thailand will often last as long as two
hours and cost only a few dollars. From the time when monks practiced
manual manipulation in a temple setting, it has sometimes entered seedy
areas. But 4-star hotels in Thailand now offer the same style (though
at a greatly elevated price).
Though like many Asian styles, it's sometimes accompanied by
unproven scientific beliefs such as "energy meridians",
there's no doubt about the validity of the practice.
Thai massage is safe, effective and produces
a wonderfully relaxing result.
Traditional manipulation techniques are used to adjust the skeleton,
increase flexibility and relieve muscular and joint tension.
In many cases, the stretching movements incorporate elements of yoga.
Unlike many other forms of massage therapy, in Thai massage, clients
are clothed, usually in a loose-fitting pajama-style pair of
pants and shirt. Through gentle stretches, the client achieves a state
of readiness for the remainder of the massage. Then the massage
apply gentle pressure with the hands and feet, eventually working her
way over the entire body.
TO SENIORS: Because of the type of movements and
hand pressure employed, this
massage type is particularly suited to the elderly and those suffering
from conditions that benefit from massage. There are no sharp jerks and
no highly focused applications of pressure - just a smooth, relaxing
flow of movements applied gradually.
While lying on a mat, rather than a massage table, the practitioner
elevates the knees, applying a gentle stretch to the back and behind
the thighs. The legs are lowered and the Thai masseuse will use toes
and feet to gently apply pressure to various parts of the lower body,
giving an overall sensation that relaxes and produces good circulation.
Oil is rarely used and the movements are rhythmic and regular. Working
along the so-called Sen
energy lines (similar to Chinese meridians),
the practitioner covers the entire body. Sometimes a hot herbal
compress will accompany the relaxing movements.
Many therapists will manipulate the fingers and toes, walk on the
client's back and perform gentle arches of the spine. All this is done
in a safe, pleasant way that results in a client who is re-energized at
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